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Supply Management needs to benefit Consumers
April 20, 2017

Canadian politicians shouldn’t base their domestic decisions on the musings of U.S. President Donald Trump.

His job is to put American interests first. Our politicians are tasked with putting our interests first.

However, Trump has inadvertently hit a nerve in the conversation around supply management and the issue now requires our attention.

On Wednesday, the president signaled his displeasure with Canada’s dairy system. He claims our supply management system is undercutting U.S. exports to Canada and harming American producers.

This will factor into NAFTA renegotiations, the president signaled.

He’s not saying this in a vacuum, the complaint having previously been made by not only industry in his own country, but also abroad.

After Trump’s comments, both Australia and New Zealand dairy leaders stepped forward to say they’d back any moves the United States made to get the World Trade Organization to wade into the subject.

Canada has fired back in kind.

Representatives of our dairy industry say the U.S. dairy industry’s presence in Canada only increased after the implementation of NAFTA in 1993.

Our ambassador to the U.S., David McNaughton, adds that Trump is flat out wrong in his assessment.

The reason why American dairy producers are seeing recent price decreases is because of simple supply and demand. There is more supply right now, therefore prices have declined.

Reactions in Canada are far from being in lockstep.

“Protectionism is always unfair for some producers and many consumers,” tweeted Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, a consistent critic of supply management. “Both Canada and US should get rid of all unfair trade policies.”

Meanwhile, another candidate had the exact opposite response. Erin O’Toole sent out a press release calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stand up for supply management.

In the coming weeks, experts will roll out economic data to support their respective positions. It’ll all look very complicated. In many respects it is, at least when it comes to the details.

The big picture isn’t though. It’s simple: Canadian trade policies need to benefit Canadian consumers.

As this conversation unfolds we can’t loss sight of this key element. Let’s make sure we put regular Canadians first.

 

Source: Toronto Sun


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